Irritated, itchy eyes? Eyes red and watering like mad? Suffering from eye infections? These can all be signs of ocular allergies. Eye allergies occur when your body views a harmless substance that comes into contact with your eyes as a hostile invader. This substance is then referred to as an allergen, and your body responds to it by setting off an immune response. This response is the allergy symptoms that you experience.
Eye allergies can be extremely debilitating for people who suffer from them. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to minimize and even avoid their effects. Here are our top tips for preventing ocular allergies this year.
Touching our face and eyes is usually a subconscious act, but every time we do so, we risk transferring allergens that we have picked up on our fingers to them. Even when we have washed our hands a little while before, we should never touch our face without washing or sanitizing them gain. When allergens get onto the skin and eyes, they will trigger the allergy response that causes our symptoms. And while it can be tempting to try and rub our eyes to obtain some relief, doing so can actually prompt the release of even more histamines which will then make our allergies even worse.
It’s also worth noting that it isn’t just allergens that we can transfer to our face by touching it with unclean hands either. We can also introduce harmful microorganisms, which could put us at risk of infections and other serious health problems. If you need to touch your eyes, such as if you want to put your contact lenses in or remove them, you should ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly both before and after.
Artificial tears are a very safe, common treatment that is recommended to address a variety of eye issues, including ocular allergies. Using artificial tears can help to keep allergy symptoms at bay because when you apply them, it helps to flush allergens from the surface of your eyes and your eyelids. They are particularly useful in the daytime when you may not be able to go and wash your face and when environmental allergens like dust and pollen are accumulating on the surface of your eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend which artificial tears are most suitable for you and advise you how often you can safely use them.
Antihistamines are one of the most common treatments prescribed for people who suffer from allergies, and they are equally as effective in reducing the effects of eye allergies. They work by counteracting the histamine release that occurs as part of your body’s immune response to the allergen. By controlling this histamine release, it keeps your allergy symptoms under control. There’s a range of different oral antihistamines and your eye doctor will tell you which are most appropriate for you and when they should be administered.
If you suffer from severe eye allergies and other treatments aren’t proving effective in reducing your symptoms, you may be a good candidate for steroid medication. Steroid medication can be extremely effective at helping to prevent the symptoms associated with ocular allergies, but since they are a very strong medication, their use needs to be carefully controlled and they can normally only be prescribed for short periods of time. Your eye doctor will monitor you very closely while you are on steroid medication.
Immunotherapy is usually the last and final course of action that may be recommended as a treatment for severe allergies. Immunotherapy involves regular shots of a medication that keeps your immune system under control, preventing it from overreacting to allergens and triggering allergy symptoms. If you are recommended to have immunotherapy, you should be expected to be closely monitored for the duration of your treatment.
If you’d like further advice on preventing eye allergies, our dedicated eye care team in Martin TN would be happy to help. Please contact us with your queries or to schedule an appointment at (731) 587-3555.